Old is new: Inaugural symposium for Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics

The Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics is holding a symposium next Tuesday, May 7, to mark its recent name change. Headline speakers are David Botstein, Anthony B. Evnin professor of genomics and director of the Lewis-Sigler Institute at Princeton University, who will speak on “Yeast, evolution and cancer;” and Jillian Banfield, professor of earth and planetary sciences at UC Berkeley and the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, who will talk about “Extraordinary phylogenetic diversity and ultrastructural novelty in subsurface bacteria.”

Jillian Banfield (UC Berkeley photo)

Jillian Banfield (UC Berkeley photo)

Also speaking will be several department faculty, including John Roth, Neil Hunter, Stephen Kowalczykowski and Scott Dawson. The symposium will be held in the Multipurpose Room of the Student Community Center and runs from 1 p.m. to 6.30 p.m.

Botstein will also give a special seminar on May 7, at 10 a.m. in 1022 Life Sciences building, on “Coordination of growth rate, stress response and metabolic activity in yeast.

In January this year, the Department of Microbiology in the College of Biological Sciences officially became the Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics. The new name better reflects what the research activities of the department, while reflecting its history, said department chair Wolf-Dietrich Heyer.

David Botstein (Credit: Frank Wojciechowski)

David Botstein (Credit: Frank Wojciechowski)

“The department has a breadth of interests that goes beyond microbiology,” Heyer said, citing for example work on telomeres, DNA repair and gene transcription, as well as on interactions between microbes and the environment. Yet all these research areas originally grew out of microbiology, and microbes such as yeast and Salmonella or E. coli bacteria are routinely used as model systems.

The symposium is jointly supported by the Storer Life Sciences Endowment of the College of Biological Sciences and by the Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics.

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